Yesterday, I left off around mile 7. At that point in the race, I was still doing pretty well.
I’d been pacing to beat my time from last week’s Disney Princess until mile 8-ish – but I’d been struggling to keep up since mile 1.
There came a point when I thought, “It’s just not my race.” I knew I’d be well within the time limit, even if I just sauntered the rest of the way. So, I started walking.
I allowed myself a few minutes to beat myself up about it. “Oh, Aurora, you shouldn’t have had fried crawfish for dinner last night. You should’ve gone for a nice, really long walk and stretched better after your 16-hour Greyhound bus ride, you silly, silly girl.”
Those things probably mattered a little, but I’m not an elite athlete. (I’m not even a regular, ol’ athlete, really.) I can’t blame a slower race on small details. I had complete control over those details. I could’ve tried to set myself up for a faster race, but I didn’t… And, you know what? I don’t care that I walked about 5 miles of the race. I had an incredible time.
Running is my hobby. It helps take away stress. I cannot allow it to become stressful. (Have I convinced myself yet that it’s okay for me to not improve with every single race – or to not even always stay at the same level as the race before? I know you guys have already moved on – “Geez, girl, I get it!”)
After I stopped caring about my time, I pulled over to the side and took pictures and videos of some fun bands (and some of those awesome spectators I talked about yesterday). I went around giving high-fives to fun strangers. I walked and danced to Michael Jackson in my ears as he told me to ease on down the road. I just had a silly, fun time. I loved it!
Earlier I said I’d decided it wasn’t my race. But you know what? It was! I don’t care that I crossed the finish line 3 hours, 37 minutes, and 36 seconds after I crossed the start line.
(I heard someone at the start joke about how once you pay the money to do a race, you should try to be out there as long as you can to get your full money’s worth!)
There were tons of spectators lining the finish as I ran in. (I loved hearing somebody say, “Look, she’s smiling.” (Although, you’d think we’d all be smiling once we can see that finish line.))
Just as they promised at the expo, they had chocolate milk for us at the finish. It tasted so good! I was skeptical at first. I don’t think I’d ever even had chocolate milk before. I LOVE regular milk so much. Why would I ever need chocolate?
But, it was totally delicious (which makes me so sad because of the little debate we’re having in the comments section of the post that mentions getting milk at the finish line). I want milk to be really, really good for me and to not leach calcium from my bones!
After the race, I met tons of wonderful new friends! Danielle from New York said she’d go see a Broadway show with me in the next couple of weeks when I’ll be up that way for a half marathon. (DC, NY, it’s all the same. If I’m going all the way to DC, how do I not make a stop in the greatest city in the world?)
Kathryn from Mississippi agreed to do her first half marathon with me! We’re shooting for one before my 52 in 52 challenge is over. I told her I was gonna put it in the blog and she said that means the pressure’s on! You know it, girl! [Edited to add: There’s no link ’cause it didn’t happen. Ah, so many dreams and plans. But alas, they don’t all come true…]
This half marathon gets a gold star for sure. I can’t wait for Rock ‘n’ Roll USA in Washington DC. It’s got a lot to live up to after this!